Best Dog Training Treats to Unleash Your Pup’s Potential

Feb 21, 2024 | Dog Training, Treats

Are you looking for the best dog training treats? Dog training is a combination of art and science, and one of the essential tools in your training kit is the humble dog treat. But not all dog treats are created equal. Just as different dogs have varying skills and personalities, the treats you use can greatly affect the outcome of your training sessions.

To ensure your furry companion fulfills their training potential, you need to have a selection of healthy dog training treats at your disposal. Throughout this guide, we will delve into the varied treat values that cater to different training stages and provide you with a curated list of the best dog training treats, designed to enhance your training sessions and help your pooch reach their full potential.

bowl of dog treats

Different Values of Dog Training Treats

Before we jump into the list, it’s crucial to understand the importance of varying treat values in dog training. Each activity or trick you teach your dog demands different levels of effort and concentration. Essentially, different tasks should be rewarded with treats of appropriate value. Here’s a brief breakdown on low, medium, and high value dog treats:

Low Value

Low value treats are used for simple commands that your dog has already mastered. They are small, easily consumable, and not particularly tasty or novel. These treats help maintain your dog’s motivation without over-feeding.

Medium Value

Medium value treats are for commands your dog is still learning or for good behavior reinforcement. They’re a little more exciting, perhaps offering a different texture or flavor, which can increase your dog’s interest and engagement.

High Value

High value treats are the jackpot of rewards and should be reserved for significant achievements, complex commands, or training in distracting environments. These treats are usually the most delectable and desirable to your dog.

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dog on leash

Determining Treat Value for Your Dog

When it comes to understanding which treats fall into the low, medium, or high-value categories for your dog, it’s all about observing their reaction. To test and gauge the value, introduce different treats during separate, quiet training sessions and take note of your dog’s enthusiasm.

Conduct a Taste Test

Begin with a taste test in a low-distraction environment. Present your dog with two different treats, letting them choose their favorite. The one they go for first is likely of higher value. Repeat this process with various combinations to establish a clear preference hierarchy.

Observe the Response Level

During training, offer varying types of treats and watch for changes in your pup’s behavior. A high-value treat will typically elicit an immediate and eager response, while a low-value treat might only receive a mild reaction.

dog treats

Assess Treat Effectiveness

Finally, assess treat effectiveness in different training scenarios. If you’re working in a distracting environment, such as a park with other animals around, a high-value treat should be able to retain your dog’s attention. If the treat fails to keep your dog focused during a training session, it’s probably not enticing enough to be considered high value in that setting.

By understanding and utilizing the hierarchy of treat values, you can effectively motivate your dog and maximize the efficiency of your training sessions.

Chippin Training Bites

Chippin Training Bites

When sustainability meets pet nutrition, Chippin Training Bites emerge as an ideal choice for eco-conscious dog owners wanting to provide their pets with high-quality treats. Made from USA wild-caught fish, these treats support a healthier planet by reducing the invasive fish species population.

Description and Benefits:

  • Crafted from wild-caught, hypoallergenic silver carp

  • Rich in Omega-3s for a shiny coat and healthy skin

  • Highly digestible and perfect for pets with sensitivities

Price Range and Availability:

Chippin Training Bites are conveniently available online and in select pet stores. They’re priced around $14, which reflects their premium ingredients and the value they offer in terms of both pet health and environmental impact.

Zuke's mini naturals

Zuke’s Mini Naturals Training Treats

Known for their small size and big flavor, Zuke’s Mini Naturals are a favorite among many dog trainers. These soft treats come in a variety of flavors, making them perfect for dogs with different taste preferences. They are also a great choice for owners who prefer natural, wholesome ingredients for their pets.

Description and Benefits:

  • Made in the USA with real meat, wholefood berries, and savory herbs

  • Under three calories each, so suitable for even the smallest dogs

  • Specially crafted to be easily digestible and non-allergenic

Price Range and Availability:

Zuke’s Mini Naturals are available in most pet stores and select online retailers, typically ranging from $6 to $20 depending on the package size.

Hill's Natural Baked Light Biscuits

Hill’s Natural Baked Light Biscuits

For those seeking a good dog training treat that supports weight management, Hill’s Natural Baked Light Biscuits are an excellent option. Perfectly sized for a quick reward without the added calories, these treats complement a well-balanced diet and fit into comprehensive training programs seamlessly.

Description and Benefits:

  • Formulated to help maintain a healthy weight in your dog

  • These crunchy dog treats help clean teeth and freshen breath

  • Made with natural ingredients, plus vitamins, minerals, and amino acids

Price Range and Availability:

Hill’s Natural Baked Light Biscuits can be found at various pet retailers and online stores, generally priced at $8 for an 8 ounce bag.

Greenies treats

Greenies Dental Treats

Greenies are not only a delicious treat for your pup, they also serve as an excellent way to promote good dental health. This dual-purpose can be especially useful in training, where you’d like to encourage behaviors that lead to better hygiene. They are crunchy on the outside and have a soft, meaty inside that dogs find irresistible.

Description and Benefits:

  • Scientifically formulated with natural ingredients and added vitamins and minerals

  • Unique texture cleans down to the gum line to fight plaque and tartar

  • Helps freshen your dog’s breath, which is an added bonus for owners

Price Range and Availability:

A pack of Greenies Dental Treats typically ranges from $10 to $40, depending on the size of the dog and the quantity purchased. You can find these treats on their website and most pet supply stores.

Smart Sticks

SmartBones SmartSticks

SmartBones SmartSticks are a fantastic alternative for dogs that can’t have rawhide. They offer the satisfaction of a meaty treat with a taste dogs love, without the risk of indigestion or choking. SmartBones are also enriched with vitamins and minerals, promoting healthy teeth and skin.

Description and Benefits:

  • Made with real chicken and vegetables, and with a nutritious mix of ingredients

  • No rawhide and easy-to-digest, perfect for sensitive stomachs

  • Chewing SmartSticks promotes healthy chewing behavior and dental hygiene

Price Range and Availability:

SmartBones SmartSticks are available online and in stores, ranging from $10 to $30 based on the quantity and size.

Old Mother Hubbard dog treats

Old Mother Hubbard Classic Crunchy Treats

Classic Crunchy Treats from Old Mother Hubbard are for the dog owner looking for traditional baked dog biscuits suitable for training. These treats are also available in a variety of flavors, ensuring there’s something to satisfy every dog’s palate.

Description and Benefits:

  • Made with all-natural ingredients like chicken, oatmeal, and eggs

  • A delicious, fulfilling snack for when your dog needs that extra bit of motivation

  • The crunchy texture helps keep your dog’s teeth clean

Price Range and Availability:

Old Mother Hubbard’s treats can often be found for $6 to $20, depending on the store and size of the package.

Merrick Power Bites

Merrick Power Bites

Merrick Power Bites are ideal for owners who want to focus on the nutritional aspect of their dog’s treat. These soft and chewy treats are packed with protein and are the perfect combination of delicious and healthy. They’re also free from grains, which is a plus for dogs with sensitivities.

Description and Benefits:

  • Crafted with real meat as the first ingredient

  • Great for all life stages and all breeds

  • Contains omega-3s and antioxidants to support your dog’s overall health

Price Range and Availability:

Merrick Power Bites are available worldwide, typically retailing for $8 to $30, depending on the size and flavor.

Dogs peeking over wall

Finding the Best Dog Training Treats | Soft vs. Hard

Soft training treats, such as the Merrick Power Bites, are often chosen for their palatability and the ease at which they can be quickly eaten by the dog, ensuring that training sessions are not interrupted. They’re typically more aromatic, which may better capture a dog’s attention and make them an excellent choice for training in more distracting environments.

On the other hand, hard treats like Old Mother Hubbard’s Classic Crunchy Treats provide a different set of benefits. Their hard texture helps in promoting dental health by reducing tartar build-up, and the extended chewing time can be satisfying for dogs, which makes them ideal as a leisurely snack that can also serve as a reward. The choice between soft and hard treats can depend on the type of training, dog value preference, and desired health benefits.

black and white dog with tongue out

How Many Training Treats Should I Use During a Training Session?

Once you’ve selected the best healthy dog training treat for your pup, it’s essential to consider treat quantity to maintain a balanced diet. Excessive treats can lead to overfeeding and weight gain, which is why it’s critical to adhere to the ‘10% rule’ – treats should not exceed 10% of your dog’s total daily caloric intake.

Usage should align with the intensity of the training and the treat’s calorie content – the more vigorous or lengthy the session, the more treats typically used, but always within the limits of a balanced diet. Consulting with your vet can also provide a personalized recommendation based on your dog’s specific dietary needs.

person holding dog's paw

DIY Training isn’t Working? Get Professional Help

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, dog training requires a professional touch. If you’re struggling to see the desired results with your current approach, consider reaching out to a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT). They can offer personalized guidance and advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs, ensuring you both get the most out of your training time.

Snouts & Stouts in Partnership with Ruff House Dog Training:

Your dog deserves the best. If you find yourself needing guidance beyond training treats, Snouts & Stouts in partnership with Ruff House Dog Training offers expert dog training and support. Together, we’ll unleash your pup’s potential, whether it’s acing obedience or mastering complex tricks. With the right tools, techniques, and perhaps a little professional guidance, you can transform training from a chore to a joy for both you and your furry friend.

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